Origin of kiss-and-tell
MORE ABOUT KISS AND TELL
What does kiss and tell mean?
Kiss and tell means to reveal details about one’s romantic or sexual encounters, especially about the person one has had these encounters with.
The phrase can also be used as a noun referring to the revelation of such details, as in The media was obsessed with the billionaire’s scandalous kiss and tell.
It can also be used as an adjective, in which case it’s typically hyphenated as kiss-and-tell, as in The gossip magazines are primarily interested in kiss-and-tell stories from celebrities.
All forms of the phrase can also be used more generally in the context of a person revealing private information, especially information they had been entrusted with, as in Tom asked me who I voted for, but I don’t kiss and tell.
Example: In middle school, you would always know when kids had played spin-the-bottle at a party, because they would always kiss and tell.
Where does kiss and tell come from?
The first records of the verb phrase kiss and tell come from the late 1690s. The first records of the noun usage come from around the 1720s, while the first records of the adjective usage come from the 1960s. The use of the verb sense of kiss can be literal, but it’s typically interpreted as a way of referring to any sexual activity in general. In this way, kiss-and-tell can be thought of as a euphemism, since the act being referred to often involves more than kissing. The word tell is used in the sense of revealing (often secret) information (it’s used in the same way in the term tell-all).
Kiss-and-tell is often used by and in the context of media involving the personal lives of celebrities and famous people. The phrase is used when gossiping or speculating on a celebrity’s love life. Unsurprisingly, celebrities are usually reluctant to kiss and tell when speaking to the media, but it does happen sometimes.
Did you know … ?
How is kiss and tell used in real life?
Kiss and tell is commonly used both in the context of revealing details of one’s own love life as well as in a more figurative way in situations involving revealing secrets.
I still don't understand people who kiss and tell😅
What's so hard about keeping what happened to yourself?
— Mary Angel (@MaryAng197) June 8, 2021
Despite their name, Arabian babblers never kiss and tell https://t.co/8kGekG2J6u
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) November 26, 2018
Karrine Steffans ushered in the era of the hip-hop ‘kiss and tell,’ but I think it’s important to remember that much of her story was about how poorly she was treated by those men. Today, it’s just, “Look who I slept with! Exposed!” We don’t need that.
— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) October 19, 2018
Try using kiss and tell!
Is kiss and tell used correctly in the following sentence?
The tabloid reporter couldn’t get any scandalous secrets from the movie star because she refused to kiss and tell.
How to use kiss-and-tell in a sentence
There was never kiss-and-tell during her on-off relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio.The World's Savviest Supermodel|Dom Phillips|May 31, 2010|DAILY BEAST
The award-winning Daily Beast columnist on the surprising revelations in the latest guilty pleasure kiss-and-tell.
Award-winning Daily Beast columnist Christopher Buckley on the surprising revelations in the latest guilty pleasure kiss-and-tell.
British Dictionary definitions for kiss-and-tell
Other Idioms and Phrases with kiss-and-tell
Betray a confidence, as in A real lady doesn't kiss and tell. This idiom originally alluded to betraying an amorous or sexual intimacy. First recorded in 1695, it is still so used, as well as more loosely, as in Don't ask how I voted; I don't kiss and tell.